Texas Supreme Court allows Harris County to count 2,000 votes after Election Day extension

The Texas Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that Harris County can count more than 2,000 votes cast during an extended Election Day voting period.

Harris County, the most populous county in Texas, suffered a ballot shortage on election day and problems with voting machines in some polling places, prompting a judge to extend opening hours from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., an hour after state law says polls must close to.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office challenged that order in a petition Monday.

The state Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that the votes can count, but also said the votes should be separated to determine whether votes cast after 7 p.m. would change the outcome of races.

“As part of the investigation, respondents are ordered to separately identify in the vote tables the number of ‘subsequent votes cast’ for each candidate in each race and for or against each proposal, so that candidates, the parties and this court can determine whether the ‘ Votes cast later” will determine the outcome and allow the parties to assess the extent to which further litigation is warranted,” the state’s Supreme Court ruled.

FILE PHOTO: A voter sits on a bench outside a Texas polling place.
(Callaghan OHare/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Harris County attorney Christian Menefee tweeted that more than 2,000 votes had been cast past the original 7 p.m. deadline.

Paxton’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.

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Harris County commissioners met Tuesday afternoon to confirm the election.

Multiple polling places in Harris County failed to open at 7 a.m. on election day, including the BakerRipley House in downtown Houston, which did not open for more than four hours, according to Houston Public Media, because officials misplaced a key.

FILE PHOTO: People walk to cast their votes at the Moody Community Center in Houston, Texas.
(Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

There were also reports of ballot shortages and understaffing at some of Harris County’s 782 polling stations.

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Texas Governor Greg Abbott called on the Texas Secretary of State, the Attorney General and the Texas Rangers to investigate Election Day issues in Harris County, saying “integrity in the election process is essential.”

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